2017 Pitch Profile: Sage Willow
Youth Arts Pitch Contest Winner, Community Arts Projects Category, 2017
Sage Lovell is a Deaf femme queer non-binary artist. Before moving to the Greater Toronto Area, Sage lived in Washington, DC, attending Gallaudet University, the only educational institution served to accommodate the needs of Deaf students in the world. There Sage studied both psychology and theatre and this experience transformed their life.
Realizing that accessibility was more than 20+ years behind in Canada, Sage returned to their roots and focused on advocacy. In the past five years, Sage has worked with various communities in several capacities, developing meaningful work that continues to evolve. With Sage’s many talents, they were able to incorporate their passions of media, language, theatre, and accessibility into works of art.
These multitude of experiences led Sage to become one of the co-founders of Deaf Spectrum, a collective established to promote the increase in usage of American Sign Language (ASL) in order to make community spaces more accessible and inclusive.
When asked how winning the 2017 Youth Arts Pitch Contest has supported their career, Sage told us “the Pitch Contest has helped us to purchase studio items to produce better sign language videos with different backdrops, studio lighting, teleprompter, and a new camera. We've shown a significant growth in Deaf folks producing accessible sign language videos and we cannot wait to complete our art video projects this summer, 1) How to book ASL Interpreters, and 2) Technology's Impact on Deaf Community.”
Sage notes that, “during the pitch contest, it was difficult being on my own, being the sole Deaf person knowing American Sign Language and not having access to spoken language. After I discovered that I won, I was relieved that my efforts was not for nothing”. Being ArtReach’s first deaf Pitch Contest participant presented itself with challenges, but ArtReach was grateful to have learned valuable lessons in accessibility, and how to accommodate the needs of deaf artists.
When Sage isn’t winning pitch contests, they also work as a writer, actor, performance interpreter, and community facilitator.